Incredible natural history, a local story and a summer of concerts – a Nerja Caves excursion offers a wealth of experiences on the Costa del Sol.
In 1959, five young men from the nearby village of Maro headed out for a bat hunting expedition at a local pothole known as La Mina (the mine). Having spent the night watching bats come and go through holes in the rocks, they decided to return the next day with tools.
They dislodged a couple of stalactites and found themselves descending into a huge cavern where, amongst the stalactites and stalagmites, they found skeletons and ceramic pottery.
This entrance was one of two natural entrances into the cave system which stretches for almost 5 kilometres.
The boys’ exciting find was recognised for its importance only after their teacher believed their tales of skeletons. In 1960, a third entrance was created allowing the caves to open to the public and providing easy access for tourists.
The caves were formed around 5 million years ago when water dissolved the marble rock forming a subterranean cavern. Subsequent seismic movement and landslides forced the water to find new pathways and the cave system was formed.
The skeletal remains indicate the caves were inhabited from about 25,000BC until the Bronze Age, although the Nerja cave paintings were dated in 2012 as possibly Neanderthal, meaning they were inhabited 42,000 years ago! If this is the case, then the Nerja cave paintings are the only examples of Neanderthal art in the world and shed new light on the abilities of the species.
Not all of the caves are open to the public, in order to preserve the paintings and ecosystem, but an audio guided tour is available for visitors to make the most of the site.
The Hall of the Waterfall or Ballet (Sala de la Cascada o del Ballet) is where concerts and festivals of dance are staged and approximately 100 seats are permanently set. The hall’s size makes it perfect for acoustics, creating a natural amphitheatre.
On 29th June 2019, the first performance of the 60th International Festival of Music and Dance will take place in the Auditoria Jardines at the Nerja Caves (cueva de Nerja). There are 11 concerts in total with acts ranging from Flamenco-soul singer, Pitingo, a Queen tribute band, to energetic violinist Ara Malikian. Only 2 concerts are within the caves themselves – the incredible dancer Rocío Molina and chamber orchestra, Concerto Málaga. Tickets can be purchased here.
Enjoy a Nerja Caves excursion from CLC Club La Costa World on Mijas Costa, taking in the caves, the town of Nerja with its famous Balcon de Europa and on the return leg a stop at Benalmádena Marina. As CLC World travel reviews testify, it’s a great day out.